Returning to the gym
Exercising habits will have certainly changed throughout the numerous lockdowns, as most of us have been limited to taking up running or bodyweight workouts in the front room. Whether you have found a new love for a training method or just can’t wait to get back to what you were doing beforehand, take on board some of the information below to ensure you don’t spend any longer away from the gym through injury.
Drop your weights by around 50% to what they were pre lockdown
It would be very tempting to come straight back to the gym and lift the same weights you were before lockdown, however, this simply isn’t going to be beneficial and would likely lead to injury. 3 months away from resistance training is going to be detrimental to anyone's strength, so as frustrating as it may be, put the ego aside and focus on lifting lighter weights with exceptional form and increase slowly as the weeks progress. 10-15% increase per week would be a good number to aim for.
Allow adequate rest between sessions
This is very similar to the point above; it is going to be very tempting to come in 5-6 days a week as soon as the gym opens and go at 100% in the attempt to get back to the levels you were pre-lockdown. Your muscle tissues are going to get a shock and after that first session back you may feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. I would personally aim for 3 sessions a week with a day’s rest inbetween for at least the first 2-3 weeks. Also, hats off to anyone who is going to tackle a leg day as their first session back!
It is going to be incredibly frustrating for the first few sessions back that you aren’t able to lift as heavy or run as fast as you were previously. Be consistent with your training once you are back into a routine and you will be back at the levels you were previously in no time. It is completely normal that fitness levels would have dropped, so don’t let it get you down and just remember, everyone is in the same boat. Focus on yourself and think of how good it will feel when you see yourself progressing week after week.
Be prepared and have a plan
Make sure that when you step back into the facility you know exactly what you are looking to achieve for that session, this is going to help increase motivation and give you a great feeling of euphoria once you know you’ve completed what you set out to achieve. Having a structured plan is going to enable you to track progress, ensure you are getting in progressive overload which is what helps you move forward with your goals. It is proven that you are much more likely to persist with a goal when you have a structured plan as opposed to just wandering around the gym aimlessly. Feel free to add/lose a session if it feels too easy or hard. To ensure progressive overload, aim to increase the weight used each week.
We've put together a 4-week programme to help you get a step ahead before April 12th. Please bear in mind your current fitness levels and cater this as best suits you. Feel free to add/lose a session if it feels too easy or hard.
However, if this is not possible you can obtain progressive overload in different ways such as adding extra sets or reps or slowing down the tempo of moves. If you need alternative exercises feel free to ask in the Health and Fitness group. Good luck!